Saturday night’s ARCA Menards Series Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Toledo Speedway will be a huge step in the return to normalcy for sports fans across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. It will mark the first time since the pandemic started in March 2020 that a national-level sporting event will take place in northwest Ohio with significantly reduced Covid restrictions. ARCA held four races at the track in 2020, three of which were held with no spectators. The fourth was limited to just 15 percent capacity.
“It has been a long process to get here, but with the climbing vaccination rates in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine has seen fit to relax restrictions, which Toledo Speedway and our fans appreciate,” said ARCA president Ron Drager. “We wish we were able to open to full capacity, but we still expect a great crowd on hand on Saturday night. We want everyone to come out and enjoy a night at the races, just like we have done for 60 years at Toledo Speedway. We hope to see a lot of excited race fans when we fire the engines for the Herr’s Potato Chips 200 on Saturday night. We’ll certainly be excited to see them back too.”
In 2020, Toledo Speedway hosted the first national-level sporting event in Ohio once the total lockdown ended when the ARCA Menards Series East raced at the half-mile oval last June. That race was held with essential personnel only; no fans were permitted to attend. Ohio’s attendance restrictions officially end on June 2. Fans who attend Saturday night’s race will only need to keep an appropriate social distance in common areas like grandstands and on the concourse. Masks are not mandatory in outdoor areas but are in any indoor areas, such as restrooms and concession stands.
“It was definitely eerie to be at the track and see racers competing in front of empty grandstands,” said ARCA communications manager Charles Krall. “There were some very die-hard fans who came to the front gate and looked over the fence just to catch a glimpse of racecars on the track. It’s a reminder to me what great fans we have, and we’re all looking forward to seeing many of them here on Saturday night.”
Practice for the Herr’s 200 will start Saturday’s on-track action at 4:15 pm, with the track’s Factory Stock division to follow with a 20-lap feature at 5 pm. General Tire Pole Qualifying will set the starting lineup for the Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at 6 pm ET, followed by a 25-lap feature event for the speedway’s Late Model Sportsman division. Pre-race activities for the Herr’s 200 start at 7:30 pm, with the green flag expected shortly after 8 pm ET. Advance discount tickets are available at Toledo-area Menards stores through Friday, May 21 for just $20, a $10 savings. A limited number of tickets will also be available at the front gate on raceday. The Herr’s Potato Chips 200 will also be televised live on MAVTV and streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.